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The Real Reason Your Multifunction Office Printer Doesn't Work


Mark Flesch
Author: Mark Flesch Date: 12/03/2019

Multifunction printers (MFPs) are an important office productivity tool that can save a company space, money and aggravation. An MFP can copy, print, scan, fax and perform multiple tasks better and more efficiently than many single-function devices. However, if an MFP has an issue or malfunctions for any reason, it can suddenly become a productivity killer.

We are big believers in preventative maintenance to head off broken or misfiring printers. But things can still go wrong, especially for machines that are in heavy use. According to our experienced team of field technicians (average tenure of more than 19 years), here are some of the most common issues and fixes for your office MFP.

PROBLEM: Lines on Your Copies

Do you see a line across your copies? Does your MFP leave a long black line down the right side of the page? Does this happen when copying but not when printing from a computer or when a page is placed on the glass?

FIX: Clean the Slit Glass

Try cleaning the copier’s slit glass (next to large platen glass on top of device). If this happens whenever you use the automatic document feeder to scan or copy something, try cleaning this glass strip. This same sensor is used whenever you scan something from the flatbed AND when you scan with the feeder, so when it gets dirty, that dirt may appear on your copies as a streak or line.

PROBLEM: Nothing Prints

Is your print job not getting printed? Do you hit the “print button” and the MFP stays idle?

FIX: Reboot

While the easiest solution is to hit the power button and restart your printer, it's essential to double-check you've selected the correct print settings—preferably before you send a dozen copies of your document to another device located in the next room. And if that doesn't help, an MFP (like any electronic device) may need a reboot. If the device still isn’t printing, contact your IT staff or our Technology Support Center to clear the print queue. There may be a job hung up preventing others from printing out.

PROBLEM: Streaks

Are there faded or light streaks on your prints?

FIX: Clean the Laser Window

If there are mysterious streaks on your copies and prints (and you’ve already cleaned the slit glass), the problem could be caused by a dirty laser window. Some machines come with a cleaning tool (which looks like a wand) mounted on the inside of the front door to clean.

PROBLEM: Ghost Jams

Sometimes a printer says that there’s a paper jam, but there's no sign off a jam when you look inside the jam door.

FIX: Find the Ghost

You may want to smash your printer in an open field like the movie Office Space. However, the solution is usually small bits of paper or even residue lodged between gears that move your rear duplexer that may leave your printer thinking there’s something lodged there. Examine the mechanical parts surrounding your ghost jam and make sure they move freely to find the ghost in the machine. 

PROBLEM: Load Paper Issues

Is the device asking for a paper size you know is already loaded in machine? 

FIX: Check the cassette drawers.

Sometimes the proper paper in the side guides may not be butted against the paper stack, or there may be paper stuck behind the cassette.

PROBLEM: Wi-Fi Printing Takes Too Long

Wireless printing is a productivity tool, until your connection is dropped. 

Fix: Check Compatibility

If your printer speed is fine when connected via USB but wireless printing is painfully slow, your printer is likely an innocent bystander; it’s how the print data is being transferred that’s the guilty party. Try moving the router and printer closer together. If moving your printer closer to the router isn't possible, make sure your router is well-equipped for Wi-Fi printing with 802.11n support, up-to-date firmware, and that it offers the 5GHz band and has 2.4GHz. Switching to a wired connection, then back to wireless, can sometimes work as well.

If any of these common printer problems are persistent, it may be time to consult with a business technology expert who can help with your printing concerns. Contact the Gordon Flesch Company for a free, no-obligation Managed Print Services needs assessment.

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Written by Mark Flesch

Mark joined the Gordon Flesch Company in 2008, rising from Account Executive to Vice President of Sales, Eastern Region. Today, he is Chief Operating Officer of the Gordon Flesch Company.

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